Why isn’t Mr. Right taking classes?

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The New York Times printed an article last week examining an aspect of adult education that is a quiet motivator for some. That unspoken energy underneath the yoga courses, the sushi making workshop, the tennis lessons. Singles anyone?

Read it here

Unfortunately, it appears single women are finding a “dearth of testosterone” in their classes. It’s certainly the case at CCAE that women take courses in larger numbers than their male counterparts. From the article:

in New York City, in many (if not most) adult courses, the women are numerous and the men are few — for approximately the same reason that men behind the wheel don’t ask for directions. It goes against the male grain to acknowledge ignorance about a subject, said professionals who organize classes.

Being a man myself, I can’t say that I’m ignorant to whether this is true. What do you think? Why do so many more women take the initiative to take classes? And what’s something we can do to better attract the blokes?

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3 responses to “Why isn’t Mr. Right taking classes?

  1. MerelyMortalMan

    Some of the aversion may come from education of all sorts becoming increasingly anti-male. Men tire of endless snarky remarks about manhood. For example, the NYT’s female (surprise, surprise) staffer wrote that guys don’t take adult ed classes “for approximately the same reason that men behind the wheel don’t ask for directions.” Really? Why is that? Could be it be men act like pathfinders because women EXPECT them to be just that?

    Also, is aversion to asking for help any more “male” that being math-phobic is “female”? Aren’t both heavily socialized behaviors?

    Furthermore, why can’t “successful, bright and adventurous” women approach men directly, wherever they find them? Why do they need the cover of courses and the support of scores of other women, in and out of classrooms?

    Are adult ed courses, like yoga and wine-salad lunches, gender-based choices? Maybe guys take courses primarily to learn, not socialize.

    Online dating has morphed. Singles now join online social groups that list events where one can meet the opposite sex in-person… something adult ed traditionally did.

    Perhaps adult ed courses should adapt, becoming more short-termed, more focused on socializing. For example, short talks followed by appetizers and wine/beer. Museums do this more and more now, gathering young professional after normal hours of operation, 6-8pm, or talks/walks followed by refreshments. There could also be single class wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, dances, etc.

    Just some ideas and observations.

  2. thanks for your comment, MerelyMortalMan. You raise some interesting points, and questions too. I’ve been thinking about this topic much of this week – if historically men haven’t been showing up to courses, is it a quality of the education and/or its connotation, or is it a quality of masculinity? I personally don’t think of adult ed as being gendered the same way yoga is, though we certainly offer courses that might be categorized that way.

    As for events geared towards singles, I believe we’ve done a few in the past that have had an implicit mingling/socializing aspect to them (cultural mixers, dating talks) but those were also predominantly attended by women. We need to spread the word to single men that CCAE might be to their benefit in more ways than one.

  3. I agree that men have a natural aversion with respect to admitting there’s anything they don’t know or can’t do.

    For a guy to seek advice or education is almost an admission that he’s not as wise or able as he should be (by his own standards of course).

    You only need to look at a typical man driving around aimlessly telling his wife he knows where he is (or going) and flat refusing to ask for directions or consult a map. By comparison, women certainly have their act together in the ‘self help’ world.

    Adam.

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